Confused about how to properly maintain your hot tub? You are not alone. The number one thing recommended for those buying used or inheriting a spa is purging the lines. Airborne diseases such as legionnaires disease can hide in the lines of the spa if not properly treated over time. Hot tubs that have not been maintained properly by previous owners are a cause for concern and can lead to death! There are also pre filters that can be attached to your garden hose that will prevent metal, minerals, and other outside contaminants from entering into the spa, this is highly recommended for those with well water. Most all reputable Pool & Spa stores in your area should be able to test your water for you while also providing advice on how to maintain your spa over time…Keep in mind, there are many different ways to chemically treat your spa which we will handle in the next blog.
The number one complaint that I hear about is skin irritation, along with lung irritation, and burning eyes. This could be for a number of reasons, lets start with Bio-Film. Bio-Film which is resistant to all sanitizers and is difficult to remove, can cause high demand on sanitizers causing you to add more products which in turn raises TDS levels in the spa. Higher sanitizer levels can cause this irritation, It is important to at least purge your lines once a year to prevent Bio-Film build up. Usually the reason for rash’s and irritated eyes are due to a Alkalinity/PH issue. Hot Tub manufactures recommend draining and refilling the spa every 3-4 months to make balancing the water chemistry a little bit easier for users causing less issues down the line.
Cleaning your filters is also an important part of hot tub maintenance. They make many different types of instant cartridge cleaners as well as overnight soaks. It is recommended you clean your filters with the instant cartridge cleaner monthly with an overnight soak every time you drain and refill, this will get off any built up oils, grease, and minerals. Allowing the filters to completely dry before placing them back into the hot tub is an important part of the process, this allows the fibers of the pleated fabric to expand and fluff up to provide a larger filtration area. This can be inconvenient if you have only one set of filters. It is NOT recommended that you power wash your filters, this can actually rapidly age your cartridge filter and downgrade the filtration flow.
Although the pleated filters are a simple design, they are seriously worked, which is why it is recommended that you chemically clean them. Hot water therapy in a spa causes pores on the body to expand allowing oils and dead skin cells, debris from the skin and sometimes the protective oils on your skin which cause the spa user to complain of dry skin patches. To put this into perspective, 2 people in a 500 gallon spa release the same amount of body oils as 80 people in a typical backyard pool. ONE BATHER in a spa produces 3 pints of perspiration in ONE HOUR, think about that for a minute without wanting to throw up in your mouth. Another problem that can come from being in a hot tub for too long is dehydration. With the amount one perspires without even being aware, it is extremely important to stay hydrated…Alcoholic beverages do not count :). There are products such as natural enzymes that can help break down the bodily oils and debris so that your sanitizer does not get used up so quickly trying to attack those items and can work on killing bacteria instead! These enzyme products also help with filtration cleanliness and the reduction of water line rings.
Water chemistry can be a bit of an over load for some people. Chemistry was never my favorite subject either. The main thing spa users need to keep in mind besides their sanitizer levels are Alkalinity, PH & Hardness levels. A weekly test should be done to the spa water to insure the best user experience possible. Most people who complain of skin irritation believe it is because of the Sanitizer they are using, it’s usually caused by low alkalinity and PH levels making the water acidic and an unfriendly environment for your skin! Not only does the acidic water harm your skin and eyes but it can also be detrimental to the acrylic or fiberglass shell and the internals of the spa itself while also depleting your sanitizer levels. Calcium being too low can cause corrosive water which will break down metal fittings, heat exchangers and the spa shell itself as well as causing foaming issues. Too much calcium can lead to cloudy water, scaling on the spa surface as well as the internal spa equipment. There are sequestering agents that can be used which bonds to the calcium not allowing them to fall out of solution. This is even more important when it comes to hot water, the hotter the water is the easier it is for the calcium to fall out of solution.